By Inga Manskopf, RBCA President
As I wrote in a previous post, so much of our local civic conversation is around land use these days. As we discuss how the use of land in our communities may or may not change within the next twenty years, it’s important to know where we are now.
Zoning in Ravenna-Bryant
I recently took a look at a zoning map for my immediate neighborhood (surrounding Bryant Elementary, area 62 on the zoning map). While the vast majority of the area is zoned Single Family, land along NE 55th and NE 65th are zoned differently. A zoning map of NE 55th between 25th and 35th Avenues shows multiple designations and that much of the area is ripe for increased development.
The northwest corner of NE 55th and 35th Avenue NE is zoned NC1-40. The previous post describes NC1-30 zones. Add 10 more feet and you have NC1-40.
From the northwest corner of 35th Avenue NE to the alley, NE 55th Street is zoned NC1-40 or Neighborhood Commercial up to 40 feet tall (generally 4 stories). Currently, the land contains single story buildings. The rest of the block is zoned NC1-30 or Neighborhood Commercial up to 30 feet tall.
What is NC2-40?
Further west on NE 55th Street, starting at 30th Avenue NE (where Pair is located) all the way down the hill through 25th Avenue NE, zoning on both sides of the street changes to NC2P-40 or Neighborhood Commercial 2 Pedestrian, 40 feet high. (The pedestrian designation was added earlier this year.)
Typical land uses in NC2 zones include medium-sized grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops, customer service offices, medical facilities, and apartments. Non-residential uses typically occupy the street front.
City code defines NC2 as meeting the following function and location criteria.
Function: To support or encourage a pedestrian-oriented shopping area that provides a full range of household and personal goods and services, including convenience and specialty goods, to the surrounding neighborhoods, and that accommodates other uses that are compatible with the retail character of the area such as housing or offices, where the following characteristics can be achieved:
- A variety of small to medium-sized neighborhood-serving businesses;
- Continuous storefronts built to the front lot line;
- An atmosphere attractive to pedestrians;
- Shoppers can drive to the area, but walk from store to store.
Location: A Neighborhood Commercial 2 zone designation is most appropriate on land that is generally characterized by the following conditions:
- Primary business districts in residential urban villages, secondary business districts in urban centers or hub urban villages, or business districts, outside of urban villages, that extend for more than approximately two blocks;
- Located on streets with good capacity, such as principal and minor arterials, but generally not on major transportation corridors;
- Lack of strong edges to buffer the residential areas;
- A mix of small and medium sized parcels;
- Limited or moderate transit service.
Drawing courtesy of Department of Planning and Development
Adding the designation of a pedestrian retail area to the NC zone:
- Preserves areas that offer a mix of street-level, pedestrian-oriented destinations accessible by foot, bike, and transit;
- Identifies and encourages areas that have potential to transition to a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood business district;
- Encourages more walking, biking, and transit use to and within neighborhood business districts by preserving and promoting active destinations.
In pedestrian zones:
- Residential uses may occupy no more than 20% of the street-level street-facing building facade.
- Buildings cannot have large blank facades on the street-facing pedestrian level.
- A parking lot on the building site cannot be in front of the building or abut the street. Parking must be under the building or behind it.